JERUSALEM — Israeli parliamentary factions on Wednesday set early elections for March 17 as snap polls suggested that those elections might result in the most conservative government in Israel’s history.

In a preliminary vote, legislators approved the dissolution of Parliament, paving the way for the elections two years ahead of schedule.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who set the elections in motion by firing two centrist ministers from his fractious government Tuesday, would be well positioned to put together a parliamentary majority with nationalist and ultra-Orthodox religious parties to cement his fourth term in office, polls published Tuesday and Wednesday suggested.

If elections were held now, the polls found, Netanyahu’s Likud party would emerge as the largest faction in the 120-member Parliament, with the ultranationalist Jewish Home party in second place.

Netanyahu was rated far ahead of other party leaders as the most qualified candidate for prime minister, according to one poll, reflecting a prevalent sense that there’s no competent alternative.

He precipitated the elections by ousting Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, two centrists who had sparred with him on a wide range of issues, from government defense spending to settlement construction in the West Bank and predominantly Arab East Jerusalem.

Commentators said defeating Netanyahu would depend on whether centrist and leftist parties could form a joint slate and win enough parliamentary seats to form a governing coalition.